During the 20th century, the imperialists drew lines on the map by which they sought to divide up the world in terms of influence.

The time of imperialism is gone, but another group of leaders is looking at the map and contemplating domination: the multinational corporations.

In the realm of sports, Nike and Adidas are the two dominant players, and they are betting their future on winning the contract for sponsorship of the Korea National Football Team.

 

For the upcoming contract period, which starts from January 2008, the race is expected to become even more intense, as a third contender, Puma, has jumped into the race. In a competition where the contenders show no reservations regarding either their pride or flexing their financial might, who will laugh last?

Why the Korean National Football Team?

Since 1996, Nike has been the sponsor of the Korea National Football Team. Nike is known to have been very generous with their sponsorship, giving the team about 50 billion won (US$53 million) - 33 billion won in supplies and 17 billion in cash - between 2003 and 2007 alone. Kyung Uk-ho, the managing director of Nike Sports Korea, emphasizes that his company still wishes to support the National Team. Nike¡¯s resolution to keep their existing relationship with the National Team comes as no surprise when one considers that Nike's main rival, Adidas, was last year awarded with sponsorship contracts from the national football teams of Japan and China. Adidas also snatched the Mexican National Team from Nike last year, and it has been candid about its ambitions to fortify its position in Northeast Asia by maintaining its sponsorship of the Chinese and Japanese teams while adding the Korean to their territory. It falls behind Nike as far as sales in the worldwide sporting goods market, but its pride will not allow Adidas to be surpassed by its main rival in terms of football sponsorships. Koreans in recent years have shown especially high interest in their national team¡¯s matches, and the country's purchasing power is one of the highest worldwide. Who would not be attracted to such a market?

An unanticipated contender in this race is Puma, who sponsored 12 out of 32 national teams in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Kim Dong-uk, the sports marketing manager of Puma Korea, said, "We have enough cash at the corporate headquarters in Germany, and are actively pursuing the sponsorship opportunity with Korean National Football Team." Puma has been sponsoring national teams mainly from Africa, and its presence in Asia was heavily tilted toward Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Observers say Puma wants to expand its sponsorship to Korea's team in order to balance its portfolio.

The Nike variable in Germany

In terms of contract acquisition, Nike has the competitive edge, say industry experts, who point to its approach to the European market, starting with Germany. Nike was recently reported to propose to DFB, Germany's football association, that it would pay 500 million Euros (US$670 million) for an eight-year sponsorship.

Adidas, Germany's current sponsor, was not pleased with Nike's offer. It claimed that it has negotiated the sponsorship with DFB last year, and the sponsorship is good until 2014. However, DFB is obviously sending an invitation to Nike by responding to Adidas by saying the sponsorship contract is until 2011. Adidas does hold the first right, and there still is a room for negotiation.

Adidas is known to have signed a sponsorship deal with the Japan Football Association for an eight-year period at 15 billion Yen (US$128 million). A cutthroat competition between the two rivals is thus predicted in the Korean market.

A relaxed Korea Football League

The current sponsorship agreement gives Nike first negotiation rights in renegotiations set to start in October, three months from the current contract expiration date. Nike's advantage is that it readily consented to sponsor the National Team when the Korea Football League (KFL) was facing difficult times, and has been sponsoring Korea¡¯s ever since.

But Adidas is willing to engage in an all-out war to wrest control from Nike, market observers say. Adidas marketing managers are showing up the KFL's offices almost daily in an attempt to grab onto any lead that could let them inside Korea, sources said.

Puma's claim in this race is that it has been a long-time supporter of Korean women's football and college football, which had been generally neglected by almost all sponsors.

As more and more contenders are jumping into the race for sponsorship of Korea's team, the more smug the KFL has become about the selection process. Kim Jin-hang, the business division manager of the KFL, said that "whoever is ready to invest more in the future of Korean football will be selected as the sponsor. The door is open."

 

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

LATEST FOOTBALL KITS

Birmingham City 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Birmingham City 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Birmingham City will adorn a yellow away shirt for the first time in five years during the 2018/19 season. Designed by adidas, the away shirt uses…
Bradford City 2018-19 Avec Sport Third Kit

Bradford City 2018-19 Avec Sport Third Kit

Bradford City AFC revealed the new 18/19 third kit by Avec Sport. The 18/19 third shirt by Avec Sport is exclusive to Bradford City FC and features a…
Bradford City 2018-19 Avec Sport Away Kit

Bradford City 2018-19 Avec Sport Away Kit

Bradford City AFC revealed the new 18/19 away kit by Avec Sport. The 18/19 away shirt by Avec Sport is exclusive to Bradford City and features a…
Sheffield United 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Sheffield United 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Sheffield United have unveiled their new away kit for the 18/19 season. With a continuation of the club's partnership with kit supplier adidas,…
Lazio 2018-19 Macron Home Kit

Lazio 2018-19 Macron Home Kit

Macron and S.S.Lazio are proud to present the historic 'flag shirt' as the new home shirt for 2018-2019. A shirt that has been voted by many as being…
SM Caen 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

SM Caen 2018-19 Umbro Away Kit

This is the new Stade Malherbe Caen 18/19 away football shirt by Umbro. The new away kit will be used during the 2018–19 Ligue 1 season, which will…
SM Caen 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

SM Caen 2018-19 Umbro Home Kit

This is the new Stade Malherbe Caen 18/19 home football shirt by Umbro. The new home kit will be used during the 2018–19 Ligue 1 season, which will…
Coventry City 2018-19 Nike Away Kit

Coventry City 2018-19 Nike Away Kit

Coventry City’s new away kit for the 18/19 season has been unveiled. The new Coventry City FC 18/19 Away Shirt is made of Nike Dry fabric, designed…
Scunthorpe United 2018-19 FBT Away Kit

Scunthorpe United 2018-19 FBT Away Kit

Scunthorpe United unveiled the brand new 2018/19 away kit which has been modelled by club legend Alex Calvo-Garcia The brand new FBT designed and…
Wolfsburg 2018-19 Nike Away Kit

Wolfsburg 2018-19 Nike Away Kit

This is the new VfL Wolfsburg 18/19 away football shirt by Nike. The new away kit will be worn during the 2018–19 Bundesliga, which will be the 56th…
Wolfsburg 2018-19 Nike Home Kit

Wolfsburg 2018-19 Nike Home Kit

This is the new VfL Wolfsburg 18/19 home football shirt by Nike. The new home kit will be worn during the 2018–19 Bundesliga, which will be the 56th…
Liverpool 2018-19 New Balance Third Kit

Liverpool 2018-19 New Balance Third Kit

Liverpool FC and New Balance have launched the team's new third kit for the 2018-19 season. The 2018-19 third kit pays homage to fan favourite kits…
Wigan Athletic 2018-19 Puma Home Kit

Wigan Athletic 2018-19 Puma Home Kit

Wigan Athletic’s new 18/19 Puma home kit has been revealed. A play on Latics’ classic home kit of 1995-98 – the era when Dave Whelan bought the club…
Fulham 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Fulham 2018-19 Adidas Away Kit

Fulham unveiled the club’s new 18/19 Adidas Away kit which will carry the Dafabet logo displayed on the front of the playing shirts worn by the First…
Fulham 2018-19 Adidas Home Kit

Fulham 2018-19 Adidas Home Kit

Fulham unveiled the club’s new 18/19 Adidas Home kit which will carry the Dafabet logo displayed on the front of the playing shirts worn by the First…
Cagliari 2018-19 Macron Away Kit

Cagliari 2018-19 Macron Away Kit

Cagliari Calcio and Macron have unveiled the 2018/19 away kit. The main colour of the Cagliari away match shirt is white, to which subtle red and…
Hajduk Split 2018-19 Macron Home Kit

Hajduk Split 2018-19 Macron Home Kit

Hajduk Split and Macron have unveiled the new home shirt that the “Whites” of Split will wear during the new edition of the Europe League, the…
Newport County 2018-19 FBT Football Kits

Newport County 2018-19 FBT Football Kits

The prominent three-striped design that features on both the Newport County 18/19 home and away kits this season is reminiscent of the iconic design…
AC Milan 2018-19 Puma Away Kit

AC Milan 2018-19 Puma Away Kit

AC Milan revealed their new Puma away kit for the 18/19 season. The away shirt comes in the legendary white that has adorned the backs of legends…
Newcastle United 2018-19 Puma Away Kit

Newcastle United 2018-19 Puma Away Kit

Newcastle United have revealed the club's new Puma away kit for the 2018/19 season. Launched under #TheFabricOfNewcastle banner, the kit is a…